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Archive for the ‘Visits’ Category

Last week in the middle of our mini heatwave I had a day out to Withernsea Lighthouse with my friend Debbie to see the ‘From Withernsea With Love’ exhibition. It’s a collaboration between Karen Turner who is a talented textile artist and Dean Wilson, a local poet and lover of pebbles and other beachcombed items. Debbie has blogged about our trip here with much better photos and text, so I’ll just say that we had a fabulous day, the beachcombing was excellent, the fish and chips delicious and the exhibition was well worth the trip.

Karen’s stitching is exquisite. I’m lucky enough to own two of her completely hand stitched quilts and there was something familiar yet different about her pebbles quilt, featuring forty nine of Dean’s pebble finds.

Each pebble is surrounded by a ring of stitching like a halo and they are instantly recognisable from the photos and the stones themselves, displayed in the nearby cabinet.

She also embroidered exquisite copies of some of the pieces of sea washed pottery that Dean also found and they were displayed with the pottery in a glass fronted corner cabinet that made them almost impossible to photograph.

However, each piece was detailed in a sketchbook…

…which was as fascinating and beautiful as the pieces themselves.

After our climb up the 144 steps of the lighthouse, fish and chips and obligatory beachcomb, we retired to the shady lighthouse garden with a drink from the on site café and I did some stitching on a piece of felt I recovered from a felted vessel I made ages ago which I had never been happy with.

I ironed it flat and cut it into a curved shape before blanket stitching it with a very brightly coloured variegated thread which happily was toned down by the felt.

Then I finished off the woven spiders’ webs I’d planned to encrust it with.

Liking it much better now.

I believe the ‘From Withernsea With Love’ exhibition is on until early October but only at weekends now. Well worth a trip in the the wilds of Holderness, especially if you enjoy beachcombing and eating fish and chips on the beach!!

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Most of my stitching time last week was given up to organising a selection of my upcycled jewellery to go into The Old Stables Studio in Horncastle and knitting some socks (exciting!) and a lace scarf which I can’t show because it’s a Christmas present so things are a bit sparse this week. However, I did finish the last locket – this time with a peacock feathers design.

The feathers start with two nested detached chain stitches in royal blue and turquoise with a dark blue French knot in the centre.

Then I added straight stitches in a very fine green silk thread all the way round and gave the feathers split stitch quills…

…before setting it into the locket.

Thursday was the most perfect day for a trip to Horncastle with the autumn light turning the fields and trees of the Wolds golden. The Old Stables Studio is literally just off the Market Square and is a hidden away gem with a very tempting looking fabric/sewing shop next door.

I did have a little look round the town before I headed home and picked up a fantastic needlelace book from a second hand book shop, so there may be some needlelace samples coming shortly.

But instead of clearing old projects, I’ve started something else new instead. Inspired by Debbie’s recent return to the Print to Stitch workshop we did at Guild with Jan Dowson in February 2019, I’ve hunted out one of the other pieces I printed at that workshop, a medieval tile based one.

Trimmed, it now looks like this:

I wouldn’t normally show the back, but it’s basted to an unusual piece of felt I made during lockdown.

Before lockdown, my youngest managed to put a three cornered tear in the knee of her grey 100% wool M&S school trousers (charity shop bargain!). I had been trying to work out how to invisibly mend this tear for a while, but as the school year wore on, I realised that she wouldn’t be going back to school until September, when she would be Y11. At her school, the Y11s wear black trousers and sweatshirts, not grey like Years 7-10 so the trousers would be redundant. She wouldn’t wear them in real life and they couldn’t go to a charity shop. But they could go into the washing machine with a load of towels and become fabulous felt which they did! Oh waste not, want not!!

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Slow progress on the Reeds piece for my Kew Memory Journal but still progress – remembering to move forward one stitch at a time.

But other things have been happening. A beach day on the Lincolnshire coast with my youngest before she returned to school.

Experimenting with embroidery on a cut silk cocoon…

…and a chunk of driftwood.

At the moment it looks like an embarrassed octopus but I plan to add bead, pearl and coral dangles to the ends of the ‘legs’ and stick it down close to follow the contours of the driftwood chunk. I love the black scribbly spalting on the bottom. Then, hopefully, it will become a pendant.

I found a couple of commercial pouches when I was clearing out a box and offered them to the friend I made the pouches for a few months ago.

She asked me to add embroidery to the fronts so she could use them for tarot/oracle cards. A triskele on the silver one and a dragonfly on the indigo. Triskele first with a base layer of chain stitch in lovely heavy weight variegated green perle.

Then whipped in a green/pink/copper variegated perle to give it even more weight…

…before blanket stitching it onto the front of the pouch.

I’ve drawn the dragonfly out onto some shibori dyed cotton I did at a course years ago but have stalled looking for a scrap of iridescent fabric I want to use for the wings. I was sure I knew where it was, but am having an increasingly nasty feeling that I ‘tidied it away’ during the recent deep clean of the lounge…

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It seems that a lot of the last couple of weeks has been about creating cards. As well as the Fathers’ Day card I showed in the last post, I was also asked to make a first birthday card…

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…and a birthday card and anniversary card. For the birthday card I decided to revisit one of the experiments I did with some Angelina fibres, rubber stamps and an iron back in February 2012 and still have hanging about! I just added some simple gold herringbone and straight stitches. The Angelina is so blingy that I think less is definitely more.

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The anniversary card is one of the dozens of prints I took from Chris Gray’s huge wooden printing block collection when she led a workshop for our Embroiderers’ Guild back in 2016.

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I used just three threads in shades of green and purple to fill in the design with chain stitch, satin stitch, fishbone stitch, detached chain stitch and of course, french knots.

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Having had all these to put together, as well as one for my own dad, is partly why the pulled thread I had planned for the Kew memory Journal hasn’t progressed very far. The weather also hasn’t helped as I’m stitching in cream on cream…

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… and good daylight is a must. It just hasn’t been nice enough to sit outside and stitch very often.

Once I’m in the swing of counting I find pulled thread work has a very pleasing rhythm but unfortunately it seems that I’ve just got settled when at least one member of the family needs something – usually feeding!

I wanted a heavily raised stitch to echo the raked gravel of the Japanese Zen garden where Chihuly’s Niijima Floats were exhibited and I think the Diagonal Raised Band I chose does that very successfully.

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The picture has been transferred onto silk with transfer medium and will be stitched into the top corner.

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Now all I need is some decent light and a family who can feed themselves…!

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Bullion roses first. In fact this is quite an old finish (early lockdown rather than later!) but one I haven’t blogged about at all. I began another tiny locket insert on silk carrier rod well before last Christmas, using silk buttonhole twist to make bullion knot roses.

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It stalled as other projects took priority but finally at the end of April I decided to crack on and get it finished.

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I was aiming for an asymmetric look but without it appearing to be unfinished and I am very pleased with the result which you can find here in my Etsy shop.

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Back to the Tattershall Castle memory journal. ‘It Rained’ is completed and I am really pleased with it. First the split stitch leaves and couched perle thread stalks.

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Then I added the raindrops. Flat backed teardrop shaped beads with an iridescent coating. They were the perfect finishing touch and I think this might be my favourite of all of the Tattershall pieces.

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This meant that I was now ready to assemble the memory journal, put it away and move onto the third one, documenting my visit to Kew last summer. I blanket stitched a border around the bollock purse…

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…and stitched into it with tiny stab stitches to attach it to the page.

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Everything else went on really smoothly but then I came to the canvaswork piece…

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Unfortunately I trimmed it really close to the edge and this has given me no leeway now I need to stitch it in place. I’m pretty sure that even if I try to invisibly stitch it down the handling will be enough to loosen the last thread on each edge and in any case, I don’t want the spiky bare canvas as an edging.

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So near and yet so far! So, dear readers, any thoughts, ideas or inspiration? All suggestions very gratefully received!

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I’m not exactly sure where the last week has gone. A lot of it gobbled up in household chores and eBay/Etsy listings, I suspect. I know it’s important not to get obsessed by what we have or haven’t done given the continuing situation but I am a bit irritated with myself that I haven’t progressed further with my stitching projects.

The last Tattershall piece, ‘It Rained’, has had a few more veins added.

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I’ve also had what I modestly consider a genius idea to attach the micro quilt so you can still see the back. I stitched on press studs!

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And then discovered it wasn’t centred… :o(

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The canvaswork needlebook is also finished. Well, the canvaswork bit of it is and I also made the closure cords.

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Next is the making up and I’ve stalled on that. I know I’m not alone in this but why is it that we so often baulk at the finishing off stage of a project? I really need a needlebook too, so you’d think that would give me the incentive to crack on and get it finished, but no, I’m dragging my heels like my youngest when reminded that she has flute practise to do instead of WhatsApping her friends.

I’ve made a few more bits of upcycled jewellery as well. A silver 1970s coin pendant, vintage carved bone disc and single silver earring…

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…became this:

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Available here in my Etsy shop.

I also restored a lovely 1950s diamante bib necklace section with a replacement diamante (the small blue one in the middle) and some reclaimed chain…

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…to make it into this:

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Also available here in my Etsy shop.

In fact, not too shabby for a week’s work, I suppose!

 

 

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The last Tattershall piece is underway and coming out exactly as I wanted, even though I wasn’t sure what I did want! I’d set my heart on using a transfer I’d made from a photo in the booklet of some of Tattershall’s bricks but it was what to do with it that had me baffled. Then I thought back to the first visit with my youngest and I immediately recalled the rain storm which we sat out under one of the trees by the shop. Leaves and raindrops, I remembered and it all fell into place.

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The background is some more of the batik I did at our last Guild meeting and the tiny leaves are cut out of some hand painted fabric backed with stabiliser.

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I’m stitching them down with split stitch veins in fine silk before I add the raindrops.

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I’ve also done a fair bit more on the Bright Pyramids needle book. The double dark blue line is the spine and I’m already onto the last hearts and flowers panel. After that I just have four more rows of long-legged cross stitch:  two vertical and two horizontal along the whole width to do before making it up.

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Am still swearing but less often, which must mean I am improving.

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I made a little pair of upcycled butterfly earrings recently which sold to a friend almost as soon as I’d posted about them on Instagram.

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I then had a lot of fun turning a card booklet which had contained a free sample tea bag into bespoke packaging for them!

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The felt on the left is to cushion them when the booklet is shut.

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Contact details on the back and a ribbon attached to the spine with a miniature paper fastener as a closure.

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A very satisfying little make.

 

 

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First I added the couched outline in dark green. I always find this part of the process a bit nerve wracking. On one hand, the couching neatens everything up but on the other hand, I always worry that I’ve chosen the wrong colour and it will end up having too much or too little contrast.

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I used couching rather than split stitch for the folds of the purse as it gives a smoother line and french knots represent the knobbly bits on the edges of the belt loop and purse lid.

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Then it was time to add the highlights in cream split stitch – I was so nervous that it wouldn’t look right! The highlights on the yellow knobbly bits are done in silk rather than crewel wool. This is another very small piece worked in a 4 inch hoop and the wool was just too thick.

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It took a while before I was happy with the highlights on the purse lid and then there were just the yellow dots on the belt loop to add.

I’m really pleased with it as a representation of the original design.

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And it means that there is only one Tattershall piece left to create – back to the bricks!

 

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In the early fifteenth century Tattershall Castle passed to Ralph, the third Baron Cromwell, who became Treasurer of England in 1433, prompting a serious upgrade to the castle. In many places, including all over the huge fireplaces, he included the image of a medieval purse to indicate his status and the source of his wealth and good fortune.

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This type of purse is sometimes called a ‘bollock purse’ for obvious reasons – this one clearly says mine is bigger than yours…!

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Much more modest.

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The purpose of the pieces in the memory journal is to spark off a memory or story linked to that day and the purse does that in a number of ways. First as a symbol of the powerful man who created the castle we see today, but it also reminds me of the second visit we made to see a medieval living history encampment and tournament a plaisance.

Walking round the encampment, I spotted a lady embroidering and we soon got chatting. Among other things she had stitched and completed the baby leaf tailed dragon from Tanya Bentham at Opus Anglicanum and made him into a cushion. So I decided to stitch the purse in the same style to remind me of our chat as well.

First I tweaked the above photo to emphasise the contrast before turning it into a pattern.

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Then couched and laid Bayeux stitch in crewel wool for the body of the purse.

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Knobs.

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And the belt loop and edge of the top flap. I like the way the diapered effect really shows up in the strong sunlight.

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And finally the detailing at the bottom of the belt loop.

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Next stage is to couch round the edges and add the details with split stitch.

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A quick finish to complete all the stitching on the bricks.

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Then I sandwiched it together with a scrap of batting and another bit of the crackly fabric I used under the bricks before machine stitching round the bricks to quilt it together.

Next stage, trimming it to fit in the accordion book so I could bind it. It ended up just 8cm by 9cm (about 3″ by 3.5″!!) so the binding was slightly fiddly.

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I love that citrus bright fabric for the binding!

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I always use a fantastic tutorial I found on the internet several years ago for binding my quilts. Even given the tiny dimensions of this one, it still worked beautifully with folded mitres which naturally fall into place at the front…

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…and some folding to be done to neaten it off at the back.

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Then a nice little hand stitching job outside in the sun.

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Finished with a tiny quilt label. I think I could be excused for not embroidering this one!

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One completed micro quilt and four out of the six pieces for the Tattershall memory journal finished. The next piece, which I’m designing now, will actually be a departure from the bricks!

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